THIS WEEK: at Nebraska on April 10 at 10 a.m. in Lincoln, Neb.
UP NEXT: No. 44 Baylor on April 11 at 1 p.m. in Manhattan, Kan.
Hoping to carry the momentum of an impressive 6-1 win over Iowa State last weekend, the Kansas State women’s tennis team travels to Nebraska on Saturday, April 10, followed by hosting a home match the very next day at the Washburn Tennis Facility against No. 44-ranked Baylor on April 11 at 1 p.m. Only two more regular season Big 12 Conference matches remain after this weekend’s competition, as the Wildcats look to finish off the season at No. 15 Texas A&M on April 17 and at No. 14 Texas on April 18.
THE OPPONENTS AT A GLANCE
The Cornhuskers (11-6, 1-4) are coming off a 3-4 loss to Missouri on April 3 and like K-State, are looking for their second conference victory of the season. The dual match will have a unique dimension to it, as the sister of Kansas State’s Paulina Castillejos, sophomore Pamela Castillejos, plays for the Huskers. At the beginning of the season, Nebraska Head Coach Scott Jacobson dubbed Pamela the most improved player on the team, after she finished her freshman campaign with a singles record of 5-2 at the No. 5 position. Baylor (8-8, 4-1), meanwhile, shared last year’s Big 12 regular season crown with Texas A&M. Freshman Carolin Walter may be young, but has made a great impact for the Bears this season. She leads the team in singles play with a 20-8 record, while sophomore teammate Iva Mihaylova is rapidly approaching the 20-win mark with her current singles record of 19-9. Walter was recently named co-Big 12 Player of the Week on April 7.
QUOTING HEAD COACH STEVE BIETAU
“We want to build on the positive things that occurred last weekend, heading into this weekend’s matches,” Head Coach Steve Bietau said. “In doubles, we are improving and we were able to do a good job of closing out matches last Sunday (against Iowa State). The competition this weekend will be tough, but we are looking forward to the challenge.”
LAST TIME OUT
Kansas State found a renewed sense of confidence on the way to its victory over Iowa State on April 4. The Wildcats (5-10, 1-6) defeated the Cyclones, 6-1, winning their first Big 12 match of the season. K-State swept the doubles point, where the No. 2 duo of Judith Diaz and Jessica Simosa dominated Beth Chermel and Danielle Uscinski of Iowa State, coming out with an 8-1 win. Maria Rosenberg also had a successful day, as she downed ISU’s Sabrina Evers in straight sets, 6-3, 6-0. She also secured a doubles victory in the top spot for K-State, teaming up with Paulina Castillejos to claim an 8-5 win. The duo improved their overall doubles record to 15-6, while Rosenberg improved her overall No. 1 singles record to a team-leading 19-12.
A MANHATTAN FAREWELL
The team’s upcoming match against Baylor will not only mark the last home match of the season, but the last time that seniors Paulina Castillejos and Hayley McIver will play for the Wildcats in Manhattan. “It’s always sad when seniors approach the end of their career,” Bietau said. “Almost everyone feels like it’s gone awfully fast. Hayley and Paulina have been a huge part of the success we’ve had in our program during the last few years.” McIver has tabulated 51 singles match victories to date, while Castillejos has recorded 45 career singles wins. Both led K-State to its third-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 2003, where the Wildcats reached the NCAA Round of 16 for the first time in school history.
Last season, Baylor pulled out a 4-3 victory over K-State and leads the all-time series, 7-3. However, the Wildcats are 2-1 when playing the Bears in Manhattan and will look to use their home court advantage to the fullest. Meanwhile, Nebraska holds a commanding 21-9 lead in the all-time series, despite K-State winning last year’s matchup by default (1-0). The Wildcats have won the last three consecutive meetings between both schools.